Swelling in the Inside of the Nose After Rhinoplasty

I had Rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum on April 9th, 2009. I had it done because I was born with cleft palate and my nose was repaired before. However, my septum slipped and I had a hard time breathing.

I feel like the inside of my nose is still swollen. The tip and nasal passages (outside) seem to be swollen in some days. I have been blowing my nose quite frequently due to allergies. What am I experiencing? Is this normal for almost 2 months out from surgery?

Doctor Answers 4

Swollen for a multitude of reasons

It is impossible to tell without a close examination of the septum what has happened to the nose. Cleft lip noses are much more difficult to perform than traditional nasal surgery. If the inside of the nose is swollen, it can be swollen for a multitude of reasons including allergies, twisting of the septum, chronic sinus infections. A diligent examination of the nasal passageways needs to be performed prior to making any decisions as to move forward with any revisional surgery.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Visit your surgeon

If you have not followed up with your surgeon, I suggest that you do so. The only way to tell why you have these symptoms is to perform a examination. Swelling is normal after rhinoplasty and can last for up to a year, but you should see your surgeon on a regular basis as he most likely has already requested.

Kevin Ende, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Be patient and give it some time.

Internal nasal surgery for the septum can have prolonged swelling. It can be accentuated by allergic issues more common in the spring and fall. Most of the time, this swelling is intermittent after the first two weeks after surgery. As in most nasal procedures, the final result will take a minimum of 4-6 months or more.

With a previous cleft palate repair (I assume as a child), the anatomy is altered because of the defect as well as the surgery. The scarring caused by the repair surgery, even though long ago, will contribute to a longer time for the swelling to come down.

Be patient and give it some time. Talk to your surgeon if you have any questions.

Ricardo Izquierdo, MD
Oak Brook Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Rhinoplasty swelling lasts longer in revision surgery


Rhinoplasty swelling occurs both on the outside and inside of the nose. It is normal to feel congested and have nasal obstruction and postnasal drip immediately after rhinoplasty surgery. Patients are generally "restaurant ready" and socially acceptable within 2 weeks. Most swelling after rhinoplasty resolves within a month. The final 20% of swelling takes a much longer time to resolve, up to a year or longer after surgery. Fortunately, this final swelling is usually only evident to the surgeon and patient.

Rhinoplasty swelling varies greatly and is largely based on the areas of the nose treated, surgical approach to the nose (open or closed/endonasal), skin thickness, postoperative care, and your healing ability. The more extensive the surgery, the more you will swell and the longer the swelling will last. The tip of the nose holds onto swelling longer than the other parts of the nose. Open rhinoplasty, where there is an external incision at the base of the nose, swells more and longer than closed/endonasal rhinoplasty. Patients with thicker skin will also have more swelling.

Patients, like yourself, who have a history of cleft lip/palate or prior surgery will have swelling on both the inside and outside of the nose for a longer period of time. You are still relatively early after surgery.

Don't forget allergies play a significantly role in nasal swelling. The mucous membranes, septum, and turbinates swell from the smallest amount of irritants. Use nasal saline rinses and allergy medication, if you aren't already.

Keeping your head elevated, maintaining the nasal splint/cast, ice, arnica montana, and following your plastic surgeon's guideline may help reduce rhinoplasty swelling. Persistant swelling may also be reduced by steroid treatment into the nose. Don't hesitate to speak to your plastic surgeon about any rhinoplasty swelling.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.